Saturday, 25 October 2014

Holy Father & Faithful Bishops: Please Listen To The Heroes

“The Archbishop of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Martin Currie, told the CBC: ‘Hopefully we can find some accommodation where [same-sex] unions are accepted and respected and they can have a part in the church life.’  ...  ‘I uphold Church teaching. I do not accept same-sex marriages. Whatever the Church teaches [on homosexuality], I support that. I have had to discipline people for going to same sex weddings.’ ”

I ask: how can we accommodate and ‘respect’ same-sex pairings which are contrary to natural law, the Scriptures, Tradition and Magisterial teaching? We cannot, is the simple answer. Seeking to uphold Church teaching while accommodating such ‘unions’ is to seek the impossible. Such thinking is a striking example of the confusion that arose among the people of God during the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.

That Synod has much to put it in a bad light; not only in that it demonstrated there are rebellious voices existing within the very heart of the Church, but in the manipulation of the Synod:

  1. the imposing of secrecy on the proceedings
  2. the setting up of a commission to look at streamlining annulments before the Synod even began, thereby pre-supposing a particular outcome
  3. manipulation of the mid-way text in order to achieve a particular outcome
  4. the inclusion of voted-down paragraphs appearing in the final text.

In that all that is done in God is done in the light and in Truth (cf. MK.4v22 and Jn.3v21) one may speculate that this Extraordinary Synod, because it was cloaked in secrecy and subject to manipulation, was not of God, and that today’s Rome (and a number of prelates around the world) act as though the Pope, Rome and/or the Episcopate, stand over and above Divine Revelation –which is to usurp the place of God. All in all, it surprises no one to hear folk saying something evil has been influencing Rome in recent times, and that this was made evident at the Synod.

In considering the family, there are many Catholics who live heroic lives of faith who needed to hear sound and supportive things from the Synod, i.e., those who struggle to preserve a solid family life amid poverty, violent social oppression and relationship difficulties; and those who, being either separated, divorced or living with a homosexual proclivity, live faithful to the Gospel by espousing celibacy.

There are associations which seek to support these heroic people which would have benefitted from supportive, wise words from the Synod; associations geared toward family support such as ‘The Holy Family Guild in our own Diocese (and the ‘National Association of Catholic Families). Also, ‘The Association of Separated and Divorced Catholics’ which gives support to those whose marriages and families have broken down; and ‘Courage’ which supports those with a homosexual orientation to live a chaste and holy life. These associations were let down very badly by the Synod.

One hopes that many souls in such Associations, souls who have already taken up the arms of prayer and sacrifice, will take up also the arms of the pen to inform both their local Bishop and the President of their Episcopal Conference that seeking to accommodate and welcome that which is contrary to the Gospel just will not do -and undermines all the sacrifices made by them as faithful families; as faithful members of ‘The Association for the Divorced & Separated Catholics’, and as faithful Catholic members of ‘Courage’ etc. The voice of these faithful (and thus heroic) Catholics, needs to be heard above the bellows of those dissenters who seek to overturn the Gospel for the sake of having sexual experience as, when and with whomsoever they desire it.

It is to the heroes that the Pope and the Bishops need to listen and give their support, not the dissenters who wish to tear up the Gospel, abandon Tradition and undermine the authority of the Church so as to indulge their passions. It is all very well to speak of ‘dialogue’ and ‘pathways’, but these words too often to blindside the faithful: dialogue becoming the seeking of new terminology that disguises sin, while ‘pathways’ becomes an ‘opening up of welcome’ to sinful practices.

May the ‘God of Surprises’ surprise the Bishops with the voice of the heroic Catholic, for it is the voice of the hero that needs to be heard; the voice of the person who carries the challenge of being a divorcee or of the homosexual orientation, yet continues to live in chaste, loving fidelity to Christ for a cause greater than the pleasure of sexual experience: the salvation of their soul.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Unwitting Agents of Satan?

I can understand Francis and Cardinals Kasper, Nichols and all the ‘Pastoral Modernisers’ saying we need to stream line the annulment process and that we need a less harsh language: why can’t we substitute ‘misdirected desire’ for ‘intrinsically disordered’ or ‘irregular union’ for adultery? But we must avoid language that suggests we value the sinful orientations that spring from concupiscence and the sinful acts in which people engage, or we are endangering their souls and our own. Be sure of this: leaders in the Church who wish to abandon Church teaching for the sake of ‘compassion’ and ‘mercy’ are placing souls on the road to hell -and they are walking there with them so as to “accompany them and support them in the messiness of human life”.

I come from a 'messy' background: the child of a union not recognised by the Church; a social circle where drunkenness, hard-drug abuse, theft, violence and sex as mere recreation were the ways of everyday life. Coming from such a background, I am not without sin myself, and I know that those in such a social circle had some good ways: mutual support in hard times; protection of one another from violent attack by rivals; the sharing of resources. But some mutual support is actually wrong: while it was good to share resources such as food and compassion when things went awry etc., it was wrong to share resources that meant more places could be robbed or rivals suffer violence. Similarly, it is wrong to give support to irregular situations. Not all support is good support; it is not good when it supports or facilitates evil.

As I said, coming from a messy background I myself am not without sin –who is? But as a sinner I needed the pastors of the Church to accompany me down the road of repentance; I needed their support in becoming the person God is calling me to be. I needed to be picked up after falling and be re-cleansed in the Blood of Christ. What I did not need was for my pastors to lie and say all was well between me and God no matter how I choose to live -I did not need them to affirm and accompany me on the road to hell. They may go there if they so desire, but I don’t want them send or take me (or others) by misplaced, erroneous compassion.

The ‘Pastoral Modernisers’ of today are, I assume, unwitting agents of Satan, but they are doing Satan’s work anyway. One can only ask, with sincere and concerned heart, if these men have not lost their Catholic Faith. They may retain a belief in ‘god’, but it is not in the God of the Ten Commandments, of the Gospel, of St Paul or of Tradition (Revelation). We can know this because the Ten Commandments outlaw sexual irregularities (Ex.20v14); because Our Lord Himself rebuked such irregularities with His own lips in the ‘Gospel of the poor and outcast’ (Lk.16v18); and because the Holy Ghost testifies through St Paul that despite this being the age of mercy (the age of the Good News) those living in the irregularities of fornication, adultery, homosexual activity, thieving, drunkenness or swindling will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor.6v9-10). Pastoral Modernisers are rejecting all of this.

Some, including our faith leaders, have shown at the Synod that they reject the restrictions of the Ten Commandments; refuse the teaching of God-made-man, and reject the teaching of the Holy Ghost through St Paul. For such men, mercy does not mean “Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more”(Lk.7v48); nor it does it mean being saying with St Paul “such, some of you once were” (1 Cor.6v11). No; their Gospel is ‘God loves you as you are, so you may leave your spouse and children; you may reject the life-giving properties of sex; you may lie with members of your own sex, and all is well between you and God’. They are very wrong. There is no scripture reference for their stand; no support in Tradition. All they have to support them is today’s secular, relativist humanism and feelings-focused kindness. I can think of no better advice to give to them than these words addressed to them by the Lord Himself: "I appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will hold you responsible for his death.” (Ezeckiel,33v7-8)

I don’t know where the ‘Pastoral Modernisers’ are coming from in calling for the Church to be ‘merciful’: the Church denies love and friendship to no one; all she does is tell those in irregular lifestyles to forgo sex. Are the ‘Pastoral Modernisers’ saying that this is too much to ask of anyone? If so, what can give us confidence that they are faithful to their celibacy? How can we know if Bishop Conry was alone in his waywardness?

By all means find ways of helping the adulterer, the licentious, the active homosexual, feel they are valuable and have a place in the Church of saints and sinners: help them by encouraging them to come to Mass; to seek spiritual Direction; to live and love chastely; to take part in the social life of the parish; to stay involved in charitable works. But do not turn a blind eye to their sin and to the danger they place themselves in by living contrary to the mind of God as expressed in Divine Law, the Scriptures and Tradition.

Post Script: I am not convinced by those who say that if the Pope changes pastoral practices it does not change doctrine. It may not do so today, but in 100/200 years time folk may well say, “The Church has been allowing those in irregular unions to receive Communion so it must be OK; if must fit with our doctrine”, and then doctrine will change to fit with practice. If Francis changes the discipline of the Church it surely won’t affect doctrine today, but it can change it in the future. And therein lies the danger: the devil has a longer-term view and plan than does the blogger or Bishop who says a change in discipline does not mean a change in doctrine. The two cannot be forever at odds.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Roam to the Dome of Home...

Inspired by the attempt of the local LMS to arrange a trip to the New Brighton Church of Saints Peter, Paul and Philomena, Fr Dickson decided to see what we could do as a parish. We managed to assemble a dozen or so folks who were interested in making the trip, which we made this past Sunday. We met some lovely people there (some who are readers of this blog) and met up with some dear friends. We were made to feel very welcome by both the clergy and the people.

I won’t spend time writing about the Church itself, because it is well presented in their recent video (which I assume all our readers have seen elsewhere but which can be viewed here). The Church/shrine is administered by the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, and we were pleased that the clergy could join us for lunch after Mass.

We had the joy of attending a Missa Cantata -with some very nice singing indeed. It is singing that we miss here at home, since no one here feels they can be part of a Latin choir. As such a sung Mass is impossible, which is a big drawback to presenting the Traditional Rite in its full glory. While Low Mass can be wonderful with its silence and meditative mode of prayer, a sung Mass once a month would be, for us, the complete presentation of the Traditional Mass.

We were given an interesting guide to the features and history of the parish and the Church by Anne Archer, whom you can see in the video. We also took some photographs of our group intently listening to said lady! All in all we had a great time there. 

If there is any recommendation we would make, it would be to arrange Coffee Mornings after Sunday Mass so folk can meet and share time together. The school is in the Church grounds, which may make a suitable place to have coffee, socialise and welcome visitors –and increase funds! (Here in Thornley Father utilises our Sunday Coffee Morning for Justice & Peace issues, which has enabled us to make donations of £100 each to the likes of Aid to the Church in Need, The Little Way, SPUC etc, and to do so three or four times a year, as well as make contributions to emergency and to disaster appeals.

A good lunch in pleasant surroundings with great company topped off the day, ensuring we had been fed both in body and soul before our return journey home. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Francis And The Close Of The Synod

I have tried to write something positive on the way the Synod has gone and how Francis handled it, but I cannot do so without feeling that I am defending Francis and ought not to be. He may be of good heart and intention, but he seems to be blind to what is going on in in his name as his legacy to history.This Synod was so distributing to so many that I was glad to see it come to an end. 

I found myself tempted to laugh at Francis’ opening comments in his Closing Address because he said the fathers had “truly lived the experience of ‘Synod,’ a path of solidarity, a ‘journey together’.” Rubbish! There is the blindness! There were two paths being taken: one in continuity with the Deposit of Faith; another which deviated from it. Such divergence is not journey together: it is journeying in and toward division. Rather than laugh, I lamented that Francis seemed to see the division displayed as positive journeying. Only The Enemy -who desires to sift us like wheat- could see it as positive -Francis is mistaking divisive talk for discussion. They are not the same thing at all. Discussion is good and Francis is right to permit it, but discussion does not include defensive and accusatory talk, which is what this synod tasted of to many.

Sadly this synod played around with doctrine from day one when Cardinal Kasper first asked that it look at admitting those in irregular unions to Holy Communion. It continued in the Interim Report after the first week. And all of this without a word of correction from the Pope. He might say he wanted free discussion, but there can be no free discussion on how to tolerate sin. Truly, we have missed a golden opportunity to look at the threats to the family in today's world and to seek ways of addressing those threats in order to support family life and heal those whose lives are being wounded or have been wounded.

The divided nature of the Synod is seen even in Francis' closing statement, where he complains about traditionalists trying to hold onto the Deposit of Faith, and then about those who do not want to hold onto it (those who act as its masters or owners). Well, he can’t have it both ways in 2015; he will have to stand either with Traditionalists to defend The Faith; with those who seek to ensure Canon Law protects the living-out of that Deposit, or he will stand against them. The signs given at this Synod were not good in that he allowed the Church’s perennial lex credendi lex vivendi to be questioned.

Without making any assertion about Francis himself, I take up the quote that “for evil to flourish all it takes is that good men doing nothing” –and from the day Kasper laid out his stall through to the Interim report, Francis did nothing to defend the Church’s Doctrine or the laws which serve to protect it in daily life. One can only assume that since he did not step on Kasper’s proposals from day one that he thought there was some validity and mileage in what Kasper said. That would be very disturbing if true.

I wait to see if Francis will come out on the side of the Deposit of Faith at the 2015 Synod or show himself to be one of those think of themselves not as its guardian, but as its owner or master...

Prayer and sacrifice are needed for the graced outcome of the 2015 Synod and its resulting Apostolic Exhortation.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Winning A Battle Does Not Win Us the War

It seems there is some relief in Rome that the Synod is over. What really happened in the Synod Hall was that by Faithful Bishops rejecting the progressive direction the Synod was taking, division among the Bishops was revealed. Not only that, but if the report given to Rorate Caeli is correct, we know some Bishops are unhappy even with Pope Francis –the President of one Episcopal Conference apparently calling him “an agent of disruption”.

Had the Synod decided for a change to allow for those in irregular situations to receive Holy Communion -and this would have to include all irregularities: cohabitation, non-sacramental unions, active homosexual relationships, surrogacy etc- the Church would be sending a message to those engaged in such acts that there is no need to return to a life consonant with Christ’s Gospel in order to benefit from the Gospel. Not only would this endanger souls, it would also constitute a huge smack in the face for those who have fought for the natural family and the Church over the last 50 years against an increasingly hostile, secular world. The sadness is that their adversaries have been shown to be living and thriving within the Catholic Clergy at the highest of levels.

Unfortunately, though a battle may have been won at the 2014 Synod, the war continues: this Synod does not really conclude until the topic is concluded at the 2015 Synod. And who knows who will be invited to take part in that Synod?

It is imperative that we continue to pray and make some sacrifices for a grace-filled outcome to the 2015 Synod. It is my hope that Francis’s ‘Pastoral Modernisers’ will realise that they are a minority; that the majority of the Faithful from laity to Bishops are not as liberal as they thought; not as willing to turn their back on the Gospel for the sake of ‘not offending against people’s feelings’ or challenging the secular world.

The Problem with Pastoral Modernisers (PM’s) is several-fold. One problem is that they think they can divide the life of faith from The Faith itself, which is utter nonsense. If a Health-Care Professional told a patient, “O yes, I know you have chronic renal failure, but if you are thirsty drink as you need, and if you fancy a banana or two don’t worry that they are potassium-rich foods” that professional would be at least incompetent and certainly dangerous. The danger from PM’s arises because they seek to allow all kinds of behaviour so as not to hurt folks’ feelings. For them, good pastoral care means no more than affirming that God loves the sinner, essentially saying that conversion of life is not necessary for salvation.

A second problem is that they remain leaders of the Church when in fact they have lost their faith in the Church and the Gospel. They retain a vague belief in some kind of ‘god’, but not the God of the Scriptures. They may refer to the Scriptures to note the compassion of God; but it is selective quoting they engage in; they do not value the whole of Scripture and Tradition where today’s ‘morality’ is rebuked as harmful to souls.

A final problem is that they are hard to defeat in the public domain simply because they are loved by those whose lives run counter to the Gospel (and by the families of such folk, whose emotions do not allow them to consider that their loved one is living contrary to the ways of God and salvation). Thus PM’s are seen as heroes. They are seen as good-hearted men, with faithful Catholics made to look hard-hearted. The truth is that while PM’s appear compassionate and Christ-like, they are really wolves in sheep’s clothing -though they are blissfully unaware of this because they feel they are ‘kind’ and ‘compassionate’.

Getting folk in irregular situations (and those who support them) to put their feelings aside so that they can embrace the Truth is not easy; only God can do it, hence the need for prayer and sacrifice –especially the saying of the Rosary so as to access the help of the very Mother of the Holy Family.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Converts To Catholicism: Take Heart

I have been asked by converts why they “bothered to become Catholic as the sure place of Truth if this synod is going to give up the whole darn thing”. I have been saying to them to recognise that there has always been tumult in the Church; just look at the Arian Crisis”; but this has only have-way helped them. So here is some sound reassurance for them that this Synod is not being managed by the devil...

We are told (see here)via that excellent blog Rorate Caeli, that cardinal Baldisseri, General Secretary to the Synod, announced that the discussions of the circuli minores would not be made public, and that almost a revolt took place: Cardinal George Pell, and after him a long line of Fathers from Archbishop Léonard, Cardinal Napier et al, asked for the matter to be put to a vote, and that it had the atmosphere of a stadium, with a standing ovation. The Pope apparently looked on impassively. Result? Cardinal Schönborn had to say, at the press conference, that "the decision to render public the relationes of the circuli was taken by large majority."

The Major Archbishop of Kiev, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, spoke directly of the need of "sending a clear message to the faithful and to the Pope" on the fact that "the family is the stable, faithful, and sacramental union between a man and a woman." This arose because, as one Synod Father said, very little had been said of the unions between persons of the same sex - not more than three interventions in the assembly -and yet Monday's Relatio spoke about it ad abundantiam. 

What this shows us is that many of our Bishops are not going to sit back and let the Gospel be abandoned in favour of satisfying the secular world. As cardinal Pell says in the interview below: “we are not giving in to the secular agenda; we are not collapsing in a heap...we have no intention of following those radical elements in all the Christian churches and of the Catholic Church in one or two countries. Christ’s teaching on marriage is not put there as a burden; it works in the long run; it’s there to protect us...Communion for the Divorced/re-married is for some, very few, certainly not the majority of the Synod Fathers, is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s a stalking horse. ~They want wider changes; recognition of civil unions, recognition of homosexual unions. The Church cannot go in that direction. It would be a capitulation from the beauties and strengths of the Catholic Tradition”.

Well said, your Eminence -and thank you to all the faithful Fathers at the Synod.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

How To Suffer with Christ and His Church – An Insight from Richard Collins (RIP)

I have been given permission to publish an email sent by Richard Collins (Linen on the Hedgerow) to one of our readers at a time when he was undergoing much suffering. I was trying to find words to introduce the email to you, but it actually speaks for itself. I will only say that I think this is something which can and will help many people in their suffering. Thank you to Richard for writing it; to his family for allowing us to share it, and to the reader who forwarded it to me.

We are hoping other Catholic blogs will give space to Richard's email, so that as many people as possible benefit from his manner of suffering with Christ and the Church.

Please do say a prayer for Richard, his family, and all those who are approaching death.

"Dear [...]

When I was in hospital I found the long nights awake particularly hard. So, I imagined Christ in His cell the night before Calvary and I joined Him there.

I took great comfort from the fact that I was able to share my suffering alongside Him.
Over the nights that followed, more visitors came to the cell. St Therese de Lisieux, the Venerable Fulton Sheen, Pope St Pius X, Padre Pio.

I began to look forward to my night time meditations and even added a priest friend also suffering with terminal cancer.

It was quite a group that gathered each evening; we began to pray for friends and family in need (including yours).

This has been a great source of comfort and understanding and, every evening, I remember [.....] and yourself in my prayers.

God bless


May God bless Richard, all the faithful departed, and grant courage, peace and strength to those left behind. Amen.